Organisation: University of Twente
Position: Full professor
Mutations on the ion channel Kv4.3 cause the neurodegenerative movement disorder spinocerebellar ataxia type 19/22, with an unknown mechanism. By employing multiple molecular research tools, we show functional abnormalities and structural changes induced by each mutation on the channel itself and on the channel modulation by auxiliary partners at the molecular level. We believe that our model and computer-aided functional analysis will be an essential aid for investigating severe de novo mutations of Kv4.3, will allow elucidating etiology of the ion channel disorder at the molecular level, and help understand the related physiological process and present targets for drug design.
Kocer is a full professor of Bioelectric signaling and engineering (BioEE) at The University of Twente. She has a background in molecular biology, synthetic biology, and electrophysiology. She is fascinated by questions about the working mechanisms of ion channels, which are unique membrane proteins of cells that are involved in receiving, transforming, and sending biological, electrical, and mechanical signals. Her research is dedicated to elucidating the role of these special membrane proteins in cellular communication in health and disease, especially in central nervous system diseases and in cancer.
Since 2014, in collaboration with Prof. Dr. D. Verbeek (UMCG, NL) and G. Brancato (SNS, IT), she has been investigating the hereditary and de novo mutants of a voltage-gated potassium channel that in its mutated form, causes spinocerebellar ataxia type 19. The study showed how pathogenic mutations affect the functioning of the channel that leads to the disease.